Striving for realism in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, I decided to investigate a puzzle that had me a little perplexed. Most of my friends here are eastern European, and the majority of those, Russian. Very few of them have any kind of weight problem at all. The few who do are not practicing Russians, meaning you wouldn’t have a clue if you didn’t meet their grandmother, and they live on fast food.
There are a few who, like me, are heavy but their weight isn’t problematic. They’re thickly built, but more like tanks than beanbags.
Well, I wanted to know what was the secret of the Russian (diaspora) diet that kept them largely either svelte or thick, but seldom debilitatingly large. So I started asking questions, and this added to my natural dieting knowledge. For this, I am VERY grateful. It stopped my gaining weight, boosted my energy, and restored my true personality. Bonus, some of my ex boyfriends are now singing, “don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…” That’s always fun to hear, despite its futility due to my “former fatty syndrome” issues.
I got the feeling though, that there was something my friends were hiding from me. You see, culturally, eastern Europeans are extremely pro fitness, but also just as extremely anti anorexia. One reason why is that there is a real malnutrition problem in Russia that has reached epic proportions. A person who wastes food or denies themselves food to meet with some far out Hollywood ideal is repellant to many. A good way to lose a Russian guy’s interest on a date is to tell him you can’t eat because you’re on a diet. If he served in the Russian army, he’s experienced real deprivation. If he hasn’t, he’s at least heard enough about it. If you’re actively dieting and loud about it, you must be an athlete in competitive season, have some other pressing medical issue, or be so stunningly beautiful that it doesn’t matter…and Russian standards of beauty go way beyond skinny. They’re not American.
I knew Russian women in the diaspora do diet. It’s just not taken to the same emotional extremes. Because of this, bringing up the conversation is met with raised eyebrows and, “Just eat naturally.” So to find out what someone does specifically when they want to lose weight outside of a sports context, I had to watch what people do, rather than listen to what they say. I snooped around the kitchens of Eastern European women who are slim.
What I found out wasn’t so shocking. The big secret is… :: drum roll ::
It’s very simple, and yet it isn’t. On the surface, it looks like a very unhealthy way to go, and it is, but it isn’t. I’ll explain.
The type of soup powders that are used do have refined salt and sugar, two big no-no’s for natural dieters. However, they have no MSG. According to one friend I quizzed on the matter of her vast collection and variety of Podravka and Mivina branded packets, it is very important that a soup powder not have any MSG, soy, or hydrogenated oils. The soups should also not have noodles since those are often fried in soy or some other unnatural oil. If she wants something in the soup, she uses crackers or toast.
The diet isn’t all soup though. The idea is that one has all the fruits and vegetables they like, and the soup satisfies the desire for something tasty and hot on most days. Then the weekends (pick a day), you pretty much do as you like.
In other words, it’s a very livable plan aside of the refined salt and sugar. The actual soups they use are extremely tasty and satisfying despite the super low calorie count. A 100 grams packet of Mivina chicken and vegetables with spices powder has about 91 calories in the entire packet. You use a teaspoon and a half of it at a time for a regular sized bowl of soup.
Have a couple of eggs in the morning, the soup twice a day plus fruits and vegetables and maybe a few crackers, or a couple of pieces of bread, and you’re not only balanced, but not missing anything.
I decided to try it for a few days, and it worked very well. Mind you, I’m not promoting this diet, just reporting the facts. I did not feel deprived and didn’t have any cravings. I am taking a multivitamin though, so I’m not sure if that was the decisive thing. Still, it works. I can’t stay on it because I don’t like the idea of refined salt and sugar every day, but as things go, I consider this among the lesser evils.
If someone is truly obese and needs to reduce their weight because the weight itself is a health problem for them, this might be a better way to go than shakes and is definitely better than obsessing.
If you’re going to take this road, the specific products being used are made by Podravka and Mivina (looks like MIBIHA on the label). These are the standard, though there are likely other brands that are similar. Look for those made or produced by Eastern European countries because they have the nice flavors that are important.
So that’s the Russian secret: special vegetable enriched soup powders. Hopefully someday they’ll make some using Celtic or gray salt and unrefined sugar.Tags: how russian women stay slim, mivina, podravka, russian diet, russian diet secret, russian weight loss secret, soup diet, soup powder